Tiger Woods remains optimistic about his future despite ruling himself out of next month’s US Open in order to continue his rehabilitation from back surgery.
The 38-year-old world No 3 last week gave the strongest indication yet that he would not be able to compete at Pinehurst from 12-15 June, admitting his recovery from his 31 March operation was “slow and tedious” and saying he was still unable to hit full shots.
Woods said on www.tigerwoods.com: “Unfortunately, I won’t be there because I’m not yet physically able to play competitive golf.
“I’d like to convey my regrets to the USGA leadership, the volunteers and the fans that I won’t be at Pinehurst.”
Woods, who underwent microdiscectomy surgery for a pinched nerve in his back eight weeks ago, has not competed since the final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship on 9 March.
He remains philosophical, though, adding: “The US Open is very important to me, and I know it’s going to be a great week. Despite missing the first two majors, and several other important tournaments, I remain very optimistic about this year and my future.”
This marks the sixth major the player will have missed since winning his 14th in 2008 at the US Open. Knee surgery following that victory led to an eight-month lay-off and caused him to miss the Open and PGA championships.
In 2011 he sat out the US Open and Open Championship due to knee and Achilles injuries, while this year’s back surgery meant he missed the Masters for the first time in his career. That cast further doubt on his ability to surpass Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 major titles, but Woods was bullish about his prospects.
Speaking on 19 May, he said: “Right before this surgery I couldn’t do much. Forget about playing golf at the highest level – I couldn’t get out of bed. But after I had the procedure it was immediate relief and just a matter of getting through that pain.”